The worst possible thing, now that the government has gone into partial shutdown, would be for President Donald Trump to go soft, relent to the media onslaught that will undoubtedly be coming his way, and sign a continuing resolution that does not include money for the wall. Whether it’s $2 billion, $5 billion, or $25 billion, the president cannot afford to lose this standoff. The politics of it will be rough, and we may even see some form of Senate Republican revolt. They may pass a bill so overwhelmingly that it can override the presidential veto. That’s fine. If that’s what Capitol Hill wants to do, let them do it. Let them take the blame for failing to secure America’s borders.
But you, Mr. President, must hold the line no matter what.
You campaigned on a promise to build a great wall across the southern border of the United States. If the past year, with an extraordinary surge in illegal immigration, has proven anything, it’s that we need that wall more desperately than ever. Unaccompanied minors are flooding across the border, Central Americans are organizing themselves into caravans, and U.S. cities are holding out a giant banner that says, “Welcome! Come Stay a While!” This cannot be allowed to stand. You, Donald J. Trump, vowed to the American people that you would put an end to it. This is your last chance to live up to that promise.
After the new Congress is sworn in, your leverage will be greatly reduced. Pelosi and her goons will control the House of Representatives once again, and there will be no chance for the $5 billion in wall funding that the House passed this week. It will be over and done with. If it’s going to be done, it’s either going to be done now…or after the 2020 election, when and if Republicans regain the majority and you win a second term in the White House.
But that’s precisely the problem. Because the question is whether any of that can happen if you fail to live up to your signature promise. Will conservatives (and no small number of lapsed Democrats) come out to support you in record numbers again? It’s hard to imagine they will.
You have everything to gain and nothing to lose by standing firm. Let the government stay partially shut down for the entirety of 2019, if that’s what it takes. Let the Democrats feel the heat. Let them explain, again and again and again, how it’s more important to NOT secure the border than it is to fund the Department of Homeland Security. It will make less sense every time they say it.
There’s only one way to lose this standoff, and that is to cave. Don’t do it, President Trump.